Part of: Early Music in Weill Recital Hall
Robin Blaze is firmly established in the front rank of interpreters of Purcell, Bach, and Handel. He has worked with some of the most distinguished conductors, including Harry Christophers, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Emmanuelle Haïm, Philippe Herreweghe, Christopher Hogwood, Ton Koopman, Paul Goodwin, Gustav Leonhardt, Robert King, Nicholas Kraemer, Sir Charles Mackerras, Trevor Pinnock, and Masaaki Suzuki. He studied music at Magdalen College, Oxford, and won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music, where he trained with assistance from The Countess of Munster Musical Trust and is now a professor of vocal studies.
Mr. Blaze regularly appears with the Academy of Ancient Music, Bach Collegium Japan, Collegium Vocale Gent, The English Concert, Gabrieli, The King’s Consort, Florilegium, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and The Sixteen. Other engagements have included performances with the Berliner Philharmoniker, National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, and Philharmonia Orchestra.
Mr. Blaze has given performances at the Göttingen International Handel Festival, Welsh National Opera, and Oxford University’s Jacqueline du Pré Music Building with such renowned groups as the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, The Netherlands Bach Society, and Bach Collegium Japan. He has won praise and acclaim from audiences for his performances of Bach’s cantatas, Christmas Oratorio, and St. Matthew Passion, as well as Handel’s Theodora, Orlando, and Messiah.
Recent and future highlights include performances of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria at The Grange Festival; Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with the Handel and Haydn Society; Purcell’s odes with The King’s Consort; Handel’s Messiah with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra; Bach’s masses with the Dunedin Consort; performances of Bach cantatas; and Pergolesi’s Salve Regina with Florilegium. Mr. Blaze also continues his collaboration with Bach Collegium Japan with concerts in Japan and Europe. With a fast-growing number of acclaimed recordings to his name, Mr. Blaze enjoys fruitful relationships with BIS and Hyperion records.
Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her CD Flying Horse: Music from the ML LuteBook was released in 2009 by Hyperion Records. Her interests in chamber music have led her to record music by Lawes, Purcell, and Dowland. With her group Theatre of the Ayre, she created a concert version of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, which was released by Wigmore Hall Live. The group’s recent CD release, The Masque of Moments—its debut recording for Linn Records—was named Disc of the Week by BBC Radio 3. The Masque of Moments and Lutes and Ukes—a unique collaboration with members of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain—toured in 2015, thanks to a major award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Ms. Kenny also devised and directed Le malade imaginaire and A Restoration Tempest for the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Ms. Kenny’s playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (The Independent), and “indecently beautiful” (Toronto Post). In 20 years of touring, she has played with many of the world’s best period-instrument groups and experienced many different approaches to music making. She has an extensive discography of collaborations with ensembles across Europe and the US. She also has given premiere performances of solo and chamber pieces by James MacMillan, Benjamin Oliver, Heiner Goebbels, and Rachel Stott.
Ms. Kenny is professor of lute at the Royal Academy of Music and professor of musical performance at the University of Southampton. She was one of four artistic advisers for the York Early Music Festival, and returned to York in 2016 with Theatre of the Ayre to judge and perform winning entries for the National Centre for Early Music’s Young Composers Competition.
Ms. Kenny continues her collaboration with countertenor Robin Blaze, having given acclaimed performances together recently at Oxford University’s Jacqueline du Pré Music Building and at the Mayfield, Ryedale, and Canterbury festivals.
Simon Jones is best known for his portrayal of Arthur Dent in the radio, television, and stage adaptations of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. His high-profile television appearances include portraying Bridey in the iconic miniseries Brideshead Revisited, and Sir Walter Raleigh in Blackadder. His association with the Monty Python team led to appearances in a variety of projects, including American Friends, Brazil, 12 Monkeys, and The Meaning of Life. Mr. Jones has appeared on stage in both the UK and the US, notably in the original New York productions of The Real Thing, Benefactors, and Privates on Parade. He has appeared with Angela Lansbury in the revival of Blithe Spirit in New York City and London, and across North America on tour, as well as opposite Joan Collins in Private Lives on Broadway and across the US. Mr. Simon just completed a run on Broadway with Mark Rylance in Farinelli and the King. He will next appear in Me and My Girl, part of New York City Center’s acclaimed Encores! series.